Eddie Carbone as an Unconventional Tragic Hero

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  Miller presents Eddie Carbone as an unconventional tragic hero, his emotions can make him generous for example when he lets Marco and Rodolfo into his home and offered them to stay there, however his emotions can also make him very controlling over Catherine as his obsession with her grows constantly throughout the play as they share a close and intimate relationship, the obsession never dies and only grows as he repeatedly displays acts of jealousy, Eddie’s outer conflict is presented by Miller that he wants to be the alpha male and he always wants to maintain his honor for example he was triggered when Marco stood up for Rodolfo and challenged him.

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In the play Eddie is conveyed as noble and kind hearted man, this is evident when he promises Catherine’s Mother and tells Catherine, “Katie, I promised your mother on her deathbed. I’m responsible for you,’’ this is a very big gesture promised by him which shows us that he is very kind hearted as Catherine was just a child then, this makes him heroic because he chose to support her financially, for in his mind was as long as she was going to be with him, which wasn’t easy as he worked hours of labor as a longshoremen and supported his family with very small earnings. Eddie is also portrayed as kind hearted and caring when he saves his family Marco, Tony and Rodolfo as he offered them a place to stay at his house

Every tragic hero from a Greek tragedy has a fatal flaw, Eddie’s is his obsession with Catherine. Eddie’s hamartia is his doom, and a key component in what will lose him respect and honour, his hamartia comes from within, and this inner-conflict is crucial to the plot development, throughout the play he displays multiple emotions and actions towards Catherine and later all of his emotion are driven faster by the ‘catalyst’ in the play which is Rodolfo, Eddie’s obsession with Catherine is evident when he says ‘’Katie, he’s only bowin’ to his passport”. This exemplifies that he is egotistical of Rodolpho and Catherine’s romantic relationship, especially since he tries to convince her that she is indeed just being used. His obsession with her is also evident later on in the play, Eddie gives in to his obsessive love and his selfish need to be in control when he, in-front of Rodolpho and later to him, “[Reaches out suddenly, and as she strives to free herself he kisses her on the mouth]” and he did this under the influence of alcohol which being drunk as he was made his feeling burst out, him kissing her tells us that he didn’t want to let Catherine to go and shows us how much he loves her and also to tell Rodolpho that’s she’s Eddie’s.

Miller structures Alfieri’s speeches as the chorus before and after each scene, which allows him to comment and explain events. This is epitomised when Alfieri introduces the protagonist before Eddie’s first line in the play, “This one’s name was Eddie Carbone, a longshoreman working the docks.“ This immediately gives the audience a glimpse of who Eddie is but Miller’s use of the word ‘was’ is significant as it demonstrates that Alfieri is already aware of the events that have happened and will be telling us the story. Furthermore, Eddie is presented to us in the past tense, indicating that his name isn’t present any more. This makes the audience wonder what happened to him and increases anticipation about Eddie’s fate. Miller foreshadows here not just Eddie’s death but also the loss of his name and reputation in the community. Alfieri plays a direct role in trying to help Eddie avoid this and as is the tradition with Greek choruses, moves to becoming directly involved in the action of the play as it progresses. Alfieri’s function as a character other than the chorus is to personify the law itself and demonstrate how it cannot give Eddie the ‘justice’ he seeks. Alfieri’s narration of the play could be seen as an attempt to restore Eddie’s name once more.

Many people respect Eddie as an honourable man. Miller illustrates Eddie’s values of honour and respect and his shows his determination to keep his high status of himself and his family. This is exemplified through the use of anecdote “ Just remember, kid, you can quicker get back a million dollars that was stolen than a word that you gave away”. This quote highlights Eddie’s concern with maintaining one’s dignity, as he clearly states the difficulty of getting back “ a word you gave away”. Additionally, Miller portrays Eddie as attempting to be the alpha male. Eddie attempts to show his superiority over Rodolpho by teaching him to box, “Come on Rodolpho, I show you a couple of passes”. The use of imperative verbs clearly emphasises Eddie’s persistence to show Rodolpho that he is weak in contrast to himself.

In conclusion Eddie’s possessive nature and hidden love for Catherine is effectively conveyed through his overwhelming actions and emotions. Miller portrays Eddie to be a normal caring man, yet he reveals his flaw of having sexual feelings for his niece Catherine, through Eddie’s continuous unreasonable hatred shown towards Catherine’s partner Rodolpho. . Eddie is extremely agitated that they developed a romantic relationship so rapidly and insists Catherine to leave him. However, Miller presents Eddie to be innocent despite his disturbing feelings for his niece. I think that Eddie’s death was indeed tragic and inevitable, yet I don’t feel that he got what he deserved. This is because, Eddie is shown to be oblivious of his feelings towards Catherine, mainly because he thinks he committed such actions because he is protecting her and not because he loves her romantically and wants her to himself.    

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